Monday, December 26, 2005

Impermanence I

This theme is the primary reason I wanted to start a blog. It's the idea that our ability to archive the events of our lives is undergoing a huge transformation and, indeed, the function of personal, family, cultural and human history as well. I'll have to flesh out this theme over several posts as it comes up in various contexts. The first is my feeling upon looking at the Internet Archive. It makes me dizzy. Why even try to preserve it all? Aren't we supposed to wait a while and let the historians decide what was important and the critics decide what's important now? Suddenly, because everyone CAN publish, everything is worth preserving and everyone expects an audience (even me!). I feel like the volume of the whole is diminishing the importance of the individual parts. The ability to publish so easily is a great thing, but I don't think we need to save it all. An eleven-year-old student recently asked me how she could "get on Google" because then she would be famous. I didn't know where to begin, but whatever I said didn't shake her notion that publishing guarantees fame.

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